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Merrill Lynch and USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Introduce Ground-breaking Longevity Training Program for Financial Advisors

Thursday, February 5, 2015 10:30 am EST

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"Greater knowledge of and appreciation for various aspects of aging helps us better connect with our clients, address concerns, and achieve their desired outcomes leading up to and through retirement."

Merrill Lynch and the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology today announced a ground-breaking training program designed to help Merrill Lynch financial advisors and retirement specialists better understand and address the evolving needs of the nation’s aging population and their families.

The new Merrill Lynch Longevity Training Program offers insights into the latest advances, research and experiences in the field of gerontology, which includes the sociological, psychological and physiological aspects of aging. Participants in the program will learn about the importance of and issues associated with longevity through a deeper exploration of seven life priorities defined through Merrill Lynch Clear®, including health, home, family, giving, leisure, work and finances.

“We’ve partnered with one of the nation’s most prestigious universities, and a pioneer in the study of gerontology, to help ensure that our advisors and specialists have a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented by increasing longevity,” said David Tyrie, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Greater knowledge of and appreciation for various aspects of aging helps us better connect with our clients, address concerns, and achieve their desired outcomes leading up to and through retirement.”

Participants must complete approximately 12 hours of training over the course of four to eight weeks, delivered through a combination of on-demand videos featuring USC professors, online courses and reference materials, and web-based best practice presentations and knowledge sharing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch subject matter experts, including director of financial gerontology Cyndi Hutchins.

Throughout the training, participants complete scored assessments of content knowledge and application skills and, at the conclusion, receive a Certificate of Completion from USC and up to nine continuing education credits for Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) or Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) professional designations.

“As our society continues to rapidly age, anticipating and understanding the unique needs and dreams of older adults is more important than ever,” said Pinchas Cohen, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “Increasing longevity can bring longer retirements, changing health care choices, more housing transitions, and many other challenges to financial security and independence. By incorporating gerontology knowledge into the financial advice they receive, we aim to help older individuals accomplish more of the goals they’ve set for themselves and their loved ones.”

An initial group of 50 Merrill Lynch financial advisors and specialists began participating in this first-of-its-kind training program last month. Starting in April, the program will be available to the firm’s more than 14,000 advisors and specialists. The program will then be expanded further beginning in May to include HR and benefit plan professionals at companies for whom Bank of America Merrill Lynch provides retirement and benefit plan services.

Merrill Lynch Clear
Introduced in May 2014, Merrill Lynch Clear is a pioneering approach that offers a more comprehensive way of helping people navigate to and throughout retirement. The result of years of extensive research and thousands of hours of conversations with people about what matters most during this stage of life, Merrill Lynch Clear modernizes the process of preparing for retirement through an exploration of seven distinct life priorities, connecting the financial aspects of life in retirement. Additional information about Merrill Lynch Clear and actionable content and retirement resources can be found at www.ml.com/retire.

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Founded in 1975, the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is the oldest and largest school of its type in the world. The school offers the most comprehensive selection of gerontology degree programs found anywhere, a variety of outstanding research opportunities, and a challenging yet supportive academic environment. As a school rooted in a world-class research university located in Los Angeles, the Davis School and its research and services arm, the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, are home to current and future leaders in the field. Faculty and students study the human lifespan by exploring the biology, psychology, sociology, policy, economics, medical, and business dimensions of adult life. The Davis School curriculum is aimed at equipping future professionals in the field of aging with the specific skills and knowledge necessary to respond effectively to the needs of an aging population.

Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management
Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management is a leading provider of comprehensive wealth management and investment services for individuals and businesses globally. With 14,085 Financial Advisors and $2 trillion in client balances as of December 31, 2014, it is among the largest businesses of its kind in the world. Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management specializes in goals-based wealth management, including planning for retirement, education, legacy, and other life goals through investment, cash and credit management. Within Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, the Private Banking and Investment Group focuses on the unique and personalized needs of wealthy individuals, families and their businesses. These clients are served by more than 150 highly specialized Private Wealth Advisor teams, along with experts in areas such as investment management, concentrated stock management and intergenerational wealth transfer strategies. Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management is part of Bank of America Corporation.

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